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NCDOT announced today DACA licenses will no longer have a pink stripe, will keep "No Lawful Status"

NCDOT announced today DACA licenses will no longer have a pink stripe, will keep “No Lawful Status”

“No Lawful Status” with “Legal Presence”? Regular license instead of pink license? None of that matters because we are no longer afraid! 

by Jose Torres-Don

As an undocumented DACA eligible youth I welcome this license as an opportunity. For us it has not been about what color our drivers licenses are. The truth is that our fight for the DACA drivers licenses has been more about empowerment in our everyday lives to take control of who we are and not let anyone tell us what our place is or is not.

We are taking these licenses knowing that the biggest and most important battle is the one in our head that leads us to our own individual liberation independent of politicians, policies (or lack of), anti-immigrant groups and anything and anyone in between.

Ultimately our perseverance comes from knowing that we are valuable and that no matter how negative the anti-immigrant rhetoric is, we are human beings and we will no longer engage in the dehumanizing process of living in the “shadows”…something that politicians on both sides of the aisle have advanced. We do not need a specific color on a license to tell us, and the rest of North Carolina, who we are. We are undocumented, we are no longer afraid and do not wish to hide that neither by being silent nor by being issued a regular license.

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We seek to drive without fear, to challenge the idea that we should remain in the shadows and to challenge the idea that this is about an “us” vs “them”. Instead, we want to have a real and honest conversation about how being undocumented is a problem and how we can find equitable and reasonable solutions that work for North Carolina. We look forward to having a bigger conversation about the enlightened self-interest for people in public office to not be bullied by radical anti-immigrant groups and instead see the value in moving North Carolina forward that is inclusive of the Hispanic community. We cannot promise the “hispanic vote”, we won’t promise that to any party, however, the national leadership of the GOP has signaled where the starting line is for Republicans of reasonable minds. It starts with seeing the value of the opportunity over the issue of immigration and proactively bidding for a broader base.

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Hello! My name is Alejandra. I live in Liberty, NC. I’m 18 years old and I am undocumented.

I was brought to this country when I was only 13 months old. I’ve been here basically all my life and now I have the chance to help my family! My mom has been driving without a driver’s license since 2007. In these past six years, she hasn’t been able to go out anywhere without being afraid of getting pulled over. She’s gotten pulled over twice already. But what can she do? She has to work in order for us to eat and she can’t be looking for a ride all the time. Everyone has their own life and we can’t always be looking for people to take us places.
This is why I can’t wait to get my pink license! I don’t like the idea that everyone who I show my driver’s license to will know my immigration status. The truth is I’m tired though. I’m tired of hiding that I am undocumented. My immigration status does not determine my worth. As of March 25th, I too will drive without fear! I wont be scared when a cop pulls up behind me on my my way to work, afraid he’ll check my plate to find that I’ve been previously pulled over for no driver’s license . More importantly, I’ll be able to drive my mom where she needs to go. Pink stripe or no pink stripe, I’m ready for my driver’s license!

Viridiana is in JROTC at Enloe High. Her dream is to join the Navy.

Viridiana is in JROTC at Enloe High. Her dream is to join the Navy.

I’m undocumented: my parents brought me, my brother, and my sister to the United States when I was only 7 years old. We were looking for a better life. I remember when we first got here I was very excited about learning a new language but more than anything to see my father again.

The excitement only lasted a couple of years though because around when I turned 10, we stopped going out. You know, the things all families do: dine out or go to the mall or take trips to the beach. It was all because my father’s driver’s license had expired and we couldn’t risk driving around because he could get pulled over at any time. My mother lost her job and wasn’t able to get a new one because she doesn’t have a social security number – she’s also undocumented. Soon my brother and sister graduated from high school, but they couldn’t keep on with their education because they were undocumented as well.

Little by little, I realized what having “no lawful status” means. My plans, my dreams of joining the army or becoming a psychologist were fading away because I knew there was no way of moving forward with my life and going to college is going to be almost impossible. It seemed as if, as soon as I got out of high school, I would be stuck flipping burgers for the rest of my illegal life. I used this as an excuse for not doing well in school. In fact, going to school became pointless for me and I’m pretty sure for many others like me too. We don’t drop out because we don’t want to be in school. We give up because we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This is my last year of high school and I thank God for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Now after high school, just like my other friends with papers, I will have the luxury of several job options. I look forward to attending college or joining the Navy and obtaining a driver’s license. My senior year has been totally different from what I expected it to be: I have joined the JROTC program at Enloe High! I have better grades in my classes because I now look forward to a better future.

Viridiana at the We Need Our License Back rally at the NCDOT.

Viridiana at the We Need Our License Back rally at the NCDOT.

There is, however, one part of the licenses we’re going to be issued that I don’t really like. The North Carolina DMV has decided to mark the licenses of DACA beneficiaries with a pink stripe on top and other unnecessary labels that make our licenses look different from the rest. I think this difference will only create situations that will often lead to ethnic prejudice every time we need to show our licenses. It’s possible that the authorities will use our distinctive license against us.

Although my license will be looking different from those of my friends, I am still very thankful that I’ll be able to drive legally in North Carolina, and not only me but my siblings too. This license will make the state of North Carolina safer by letting us drive legally and authorized. To me the color and “No Lawful Status” label added to the license won’t stop me from getting one; they could even make our licenses triangle shaped, rainbow colored or any other thing to mark a difference between us and those with papers. As long as I can drive, work, go to college and accomplish my goals legally in this state, that is what matters.

Ungrateful? No. I’d say I’m realistic. I have decided I will not be getting a pink license. This decision has not only surprised my friends but also my family. I understand that by not getting one not only will it affect me but also them. The truth is I have been discriminated against for the past thirteen years that I’ve lived in this country. I’m sick and tired of it. On March 25th, I plan to come out publicly about my immigration status because I refuse to be further discriminated, but more importantly because I refuse to continue to live in the shadows and afraid. I will continue to drive without a license and I will do so without fear. 

Monserrat at Securing Our Own Families Training

Monserrat at Securing Our Own Families Training

I thank my friends, family, teammates and all of those who supported us the dreamers back in January when we were fighting to get our license. I was one of those who were at the rallies, demanding equal rights. I never thought that we would be issued licences that brand us and single us out in red letters: “No Lawful Status”. Why not “Legal Presence” instead? After all, we do hold legal presence.

I’ve been in this country for thirteen years. I’ve missed my grandparents’ birthdays and their funerals. I’ve missed Mexico too. I’ve been asked before why I don’t just go back. I don’t go back because I’m not giving up. I have dreams and goals I want to achieve. Also, my family is here. But living in the US has not been easy. Fourth grade was hard – I got bullied because I speak English with an accent. In middle school, the problem was my skin color. And in high school.. well that’s when I realized what it means to be illegal. It was during junior and senior year that I understood everything perfectly. Not only was my skin color the problem, but also my immigration status. Senior year, while everyone was filling out their college applications, a classmate who was also illegal and I were the only ones not doing it. Not because we didn’t want to but because we couldn’t. I will never forget what I felt during that time.

Monserrat at the We Want Our License Rally at the NCDOT

Monserrat at the We Want Our License Rally at the NCDOT

We all have decisions to make and I know that at the end of the day a license is a license, and boy do I need it. But.. no, thank you. I have decided not to get a pink license because I refuse to allow anyone else to single me out, bully me, or make me feel less human and less of a person because of my immigration status. This will not keep me from driving, however. I will be driving without fear!

As part of the NC Dream Team, I believe in the power of organizing. I believe in the power of my community to stand up and fight back. Whether you have to get a pink license or you choose not to, I encourage you to DROP THE FEAR. What matters is that we drop the fear of ICE or the police and acknowledge the power we have as a community to fight back. On March 25th, I am driving without fear. Will you be there? Will you drop the fear?

What: Driving Without Fear / Manejando Sin Miedo Rally

Where: DMV on 2431 Spring Forest Road, North Raleigh, NC, 27615

Time: 3 pm

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Cinthia Marroquin and Jose Rico will be speaking shortly at a press conference held by sponsors of House Bill 184, a bill proposal led by Democrat house members at our state’s legislature that asks for DACA licenses that look like everyone elses, without the pink stripe and without the red label “No Lawful Status”.

As undocumented youth tired of the friendly but weightless rhetoric of Washington, D.C.’s Democratic leadership that preaches immigration reform but continues to deport and separate our families, we hope our state’s local Democratic leadership is not too late to stand on the side of NC’s immigrant community. In 2005, when Democrats controlled the legislature they kept a proposal for in-state tuition for undocumented students from passing. It’s been 8 years since then. What we call for today is bipartisan leadership to move North Carolina forward. Both Democrats and Republicans have a stake in this matter.

February 14, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Cinthia Marroquin:  919-985-5868
Mayra Aguilar:  919-995-6650
cinthia@thencdreamteam.org

Deferred Action Beneficiaries Respond to NCDOT Secretary Anthony Tata’s Announcement

Raleigh, NC—February 14, 2013 North Carolina immigrant youth welcome the announcement from NCDOT Secretary Anthony Tata to re-issue drivers licenses to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries.  The announcement is a belated victory for undocumented youth throughout North Carolina who have been organizing to publicly demand that Anthony Tata execute his responsibilities as Secretary of Transportation without discriminatory and predatory practices.

While the announcement is a positive one, immigrant youth and North Carolina’s Hispanic community must remain vigilant of these types of political tactics that marginalize communities and add to the anti immigrant rhetoric that has become a staple of local politicians. Mayra Aguilar, a DACA beneficiary and young mother organized her community to rally outside the Department of Transportation. She states, “ the decision to deny such drivers licenses has clearly been politically motivated from the beginning and moving forward we expect better from the leadership of this state and their treatment of the Hispanic population”.

Of note in the announcement is that licenses issued to DACA beneficiaries will have a clearly marked label to indicate the card holder does not have lawful status. This is of concern for practical and economic reasons but especially for the prevailing anti immigrant tones.  Today, a group of DACA beneficiaries were not allowed to be at the press conference and had to wait outside. These youth sought accountability from Anthony Tata and he ignored them on his way out.

This kind of continued treatment towards the Hispanic community is unfair.

“We will have zero tolerance to being used as political pawns when it comes to the safety of our communities” says Cinthia Marroquin, a DACA beneficiary and lead organizer for the NC DREAM Team. “We know this is politics as usual… moving forward, the NC DREAM Team welcomes a better reception from the leadership of this state and especially from our Governor, Pat McCrory who can show true leadership to move NC forward”.

The NC DREAM Team is committed to organizing the immigrant community. Both Democrats and Republicans in the state have a responsibility and stake in this matter.

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The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies. We are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize our individual and collective power to activate our communities. We also aim to create awareness of the broader struggle for social justice. We do not shy away from purposeful direct action and civil disobedience in the pursuit of a more just future for our immigrant community.

We are meeting with DOT Secretary Tata right now. He has the power to reissue our drivers licenses and has already gotten clarification from Attorney General Cooper on the matter. Why is he holding our licenses hostage? Let him know you stand with immigrant youth!

Take Action:

Call NC Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata RIGHT NOW:  919-707-2800 or 919-707-2834

Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to support driver licenses for DACA immigrant youth like Mayra Aguilar who is meeting with Secretary Tata today. Mayra is a young mother and needs to be able to drive without fear. She needs a drivers license and Secretary Tata has a responsibility to keep all of North Carolina safe with licensed and insured drivers. We must put safety over hate politics.”

Sample Tweet: .@NCDOT is holding #DACA licenses hostage! @NCDREAMTeam is meeting w/ @ajtata, tell him u stand with #immigrantyouth! Call 919-707-2800

Let us know what they tell you!

Holding our drivers licenses hostage may be a game of politics for Anthony Tata, the Department of Transportation Secretary. But for Mayra Aguilar, a local DACA eligible youth and young mother from Garner, it is about survival and being able to care for her family and drive without fear. Mayra has requested a meeting with NCDOT Secretary Tata to seek accountability. This meeting is scheduled for today at 4 pm.

We need our community to stand behind Mayra and all undocumented youth across North Carolina. It’s time to get our licenses back!

MA

Mayra and her daughter

Tata

DOT Secretary Tony Tata

Call NC Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata RIGHT NOW: 919-707-2800, 919-707-2834

Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to support driver licenses for DACA immigrant youth like Mayra Aguilar who is meeting with Secretary Tata today. Mayra is a young mother and needs to be able to drive without fear. She needs a drivers license and Secretary Tata has a responsibility to keep all of North Carolina safe with licensed and insured drivers. We must put safety over hate politics.”

Earlier last month, NC Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Tata, decided to stop issuing driver’s licenses to DACA youth and has since kept our licenses hostage. For him, it is a game to flex his power and in that game all North Carolinians lose.

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Even after a favorable statement from our Attorney General, Roy Cooper, the NCDOT is still refusing to change this discriminatory policy. Tata is knowingly and intentionally attacking us as immigrant youth and in the process is violating federal directive and abusing his power to bully our communities.

Anthony Tata has the power to re-issue drivers licenses. We demand he do so immediately. We ask you to demand with us!

1) Sign & Share the petition:

http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/license/

2) Call NC Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata RIGHT NOW: 919-707-2800

Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to support driver licenses for DACA
immigrant youth like Mayra Aguilar who is meeting with Secretary Tata
today. Mayra is a young mother and needs to be able to drive without
fear. She needs a drivers license and Secretary Tata has a
responsibility to keep all of North Carolina safe with licensed and
insured drivers. We must put safety over hate politics.”

3) Call Eric Boyette (NC DMV Commissioner) – (919) 861-3015

Sample script: “Hi, I am calling to ask that the NC DMV adhere to the
statement made by Attorney General Cooper saying DACA holders have a
right to obtain driver licenses by NC state law. I ask that this
official statement be reflected in the DMV’s requirements for driver
licenses immediately. Thank you!”

WE NEED OUR LICENSE BACK!!!

SIGN THE PETITION!

Yesterday we rallied outside the NC Department of Transportation to demand DACA eligible immigrant youth be able to get their driver’s licenses issued. We were there to tel the head of this department, Tony Tata, that we know he has the power to change the NC DMV’s predatory policy and he must do so immediately.

We personally spoke to Tony Tata’s secretary to set up an appointment with him in person. They said they would call to confirm but as of now this has not happened. Meanwhile the anti-immigrant forces and usual bullies are out in full force. They are counting on our silence! Here is what they are saying:

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Help us outnumber their calls and emails!

These anti-immigrants are telling Tony Tata and the DMV that they should be against hard working immigrant youth like you and your friends. They are demanding that Tony Tata and the DMV go against USCIS and the NC Attorney Generals’ explicit clarification that DACA holders are in fact eligible for a driver’s license!

We must not sit back now. Make your own 5 calls and send 5 emails. Then ask 5 friends and family members to do the same!

You can use this script and contact information directly on the DOT website:

1. Call Tony Tata: 919-707-2800

Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to support driver licenses for DACA immigrant youth. They are legally present in North Carolina as USCIS and the NC Attorney General have made clear. I want a safe North Carolina with licensed and insured drivers. We must put safety over hate politics.”

2. Click here to leave him a comment at the Department of Transportation website. Tell him that DACA youth have been given authorization to legally work, let them drive!

We are gaining momentum! The North Carolina NAACP has issued a statement supporting immigrant youth. Keep calling and signing the petition so that Anthony Tata, Pat McCrory, and all of these politicians know that they must act immediately. But we have to keep calling until we have a solution!

Make A Call:

Eric Boyette (NC DMV Commissioner)  –  (919) 861-3015

Tony Tata (NC Dept of Transportation Secretary)  –  (919) 707-2800

Sample script: “Hi, I am calling to ask that the NC DMV adhere to the statement made by Attorney General Cooper saying DACA holders have a right to obtain driver licenses by NC state law. I ask that this official statement be reflected in the DMV’s requirements for driver licenses immediately. Thank you!”

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NAACP

NC NAACP Issues Statement in Response to the NC DOT’s Unwillingness to Comply with NC Attorney General’s Ruling on Licenses for Young People Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

22 January 2013

For More Information:    Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, President, 919-394-8137

Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700

Atty. Jamie Phillips, Public Policy Coordinator, 919-682-4700

For Media Assistance:     Rob Stephens, Field Secretary, 336-577-9335

The NC NAACP is asking Governor Pat McCrory to instruct his Secretary of Transportation Anthony Tata to obey the federal rules, as upheld by N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, and issue driver licenses to young immigrants who are in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the NC NAACP President, is challenging the Governor to divorce himself from the petulant and adolescent comments of Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.  Forest is quoted as saying, “We are a sovereign state and need to stand up and push back when the Feds encroach on our ability to protect our citizens and enforce our laws.”

Barber said, “North Carolina needs to focus on unifying and lifting up all people, especially our children. Lt. Gov. Forest’s statement divides and scapegoats.  Does Gov. McCrory agree that North Carolina should act in direct violation of the U.S. Government’s laws and rules, as interpreted by the N.C. top law enforcement official? Forest’s outburst may get some applause at the tea party rallies he attends, but if this is a sign about how Gov. McCrory intends to govern all the people of North Carolina–not just the extremists, then the people of North Carolina need to know now.  Both the Governor and the Lt. Governor swore on the Bible to uphold the U.S. Constitution and laws.  And 145 years ago, the N.C. Constitution declared ‘Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.’

The United States government has established a process that defers deportation of immigrants who came to this country illegally as children. This process, called DACA, provides these young people with the opportunity to obtain a NC driver license. Lt. Gov. Forest recently said, they should “not be afforded the privileges reserved for US citizens,” and accused President Obama of ignoring the law. “

“We urge Governor McCrory and his administration to comply with the U.S. laws.  Make it clear in the beginning of your administration that tea party rhetoric has no place in your administration.  The NC NAACP believes the issue of how we treat our young Latino sister and brothers will play an important part in defining the new McCrory Administration.  Will you support the Attorney General, who says you should instruct the Division of Motor Vehicles to resume its sensible practice of issuing licenses to DACA young people?  Are will you force them to go further into the shadows, waiting for the comprehensive immigration reforms that the great majority of federal legislators now are talking about?”

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Hon. Pat McCrory

Governor of North Carolina

116 W. Jones Street

Raleigh, NC 26702

RE: Your Position on DACA Issue

Dear Governor McCrory,

The NC NAACP respectfully requests that you support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a federal law created by Executive Order of the President of the United States. This request comes from the root of what keeps this country great. Our Constitution, created by Lincoln Republicans and African Americans of this State, 145 years ago clearly reads, “Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion therof can have any binding force.”

We pray that you do not agree with those who would use antiquated language such as “sovereign state” and who would imply a state may ignore and reject a federal law set in place by the President of the United States. We pray you reject nullification language and efforts by your Lt. Governor and those in the extreme pockets of your party. We pray that you and your administration comply with U.S. laws and declare that tea party rhetoric has no place in your administration. We pray you follow the lead of your Attorney General and instruct the Division of Motor Vehicles to resume its issuing of licenses to young people covered by DACA. The NAACP will stand in every way with our Latino and Immigrant Brothers and Sisters. We must move forward as a state not backwards!

All of this we ask and pray with respect and hope.

Respectfully,

Barber Signature

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

President, NC State Conference of the NAACP

 cc: NAACP Members, Partners, and Friends

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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